I got a lot of responses to "Protester vs. Protester" (4/8/2011), in which Bummed-Out Badger lamented the civil war that has erupted among his liberal friends and neighbors over Gov. Scott Walker's anti-union budget. Conversations have gotten tense as Democratic allies snipe at one another over tiny differences in perspective.
Here's a sampling from the letters, in which other liberals expressed discontent with their own side.
Dear Tell All: I just shake my head when protesters rail against what the Republicans have done but then turn a blind eye when our side does similar things. On The Stephanie Miller Show on 92.1 FM, Miller heaped praise on the liberal who embarrassed Scott Walker with a prank call, but then denounced the conservative who punked National Public Radio staffers. You can't have it both ways, folks.
Similarly, the Capitol demonstrators have rightly howled over the Republican state legislators' refusal to compromise. But then, at one big rally, I heard a speaker draw cheers when he criticized President Obama for compromising with Republicans on the federal budget. Huh?
Dear Tell All: I felt uncomfortable every time teachers took the mike at one of the rallies and suggested that they were somehow involving their students in the cause. The protesters cheered these statements, but what if the shoe were on the other foot and teachers, say, involved students in their anti-Darwin crusade? Would in-class righteousness seem so admirable then?
Dear Tell All: I'm fed up with the deadly attack of earnestness that has accompanied the public employee issue. People I know who used to be fun aren't fun anymore; they sound like an exclamation-mark-filled political pamphlet.
The same goes for public figures. If The Capital Times' John Nichols booms out the words "Fightin' Bob La Follette" one more time I'm going to scream.
For many of the progressives who haven't been able to stay away from a local microphone lately (I'm talking to you, Jesse Jackson), the budget crisis seems like the opportunity of a lifetime for an ego-massaging star turn.
Do you have a question about life or love in Madison? Write Tell All, 101 King St., Madison, WI 53703. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.